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PARLIAMENTARY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 117, 24 June 1880
(per press association). HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. At Tuesday’s sitting of the House of Representatives, a petition was presented from Otago praying that the bottle license be retained. Mr. Macandrew intimated his intention to ask for a copy of the evidence taken before the Civil Service Commission, also for information regarding the contracts with the firm Mr. Conyers is said to be connected with, and if he had an opportunity afforded him of rebutting the evidence given on this subject. Mr. Oliver, in reply to Mr. Murray, said no cement factory existed in New Zealand, and cement made from stone got at Taranaki had been found to be useless. THE NO-CONFIDENCE DEBATE. Dr. Wallis resumed the debate insisting on free trade, and protesting against protection in any form. Sir George Grey was the proper man to carry out the items of the Liberal programme. Mr. Gisborne twitted Mr. Reader Wood with being a political weathercock, who, in ciying up Minister’s’ credit, cried down that of the colony. His speech, he said, would injure the colony on the London Stock Exchange. He said the Public Works Policy of 1870 was wise and statesmanlike, and, though the colony was now depressed, it was sound at heart, and would yet rise superior to temporary difficulties. Government’s real saving, he said, was not more than L 7,000 or LB,OOO. The whole fiscal policy of the Government was shadowy. Mr. Murray defended the Property Tax, and hinted at the advisableness of selling the railwaj's Mr. Montgomery spoke at some length, deprecating any exhibition of party feeling in dealing with the critical position of the colony at this moment. Government had not fulfilled their promises of reduction, hut had put them off at a time when prompt and immediate action was necessary. Ho would oppose the beer tax, and would not vote for any new tax unless lie saw considerable departmental reduction. Not L 50,000, but L 200,000, would have to be struck off, irrespective of party or personal feeling. Mr. Hurst followed in a similar strain. He defended his secession from the party now in opposition as an act in response to what he believed his duty to the colony, and he would assist any party to carry out an honest scheme of retrenchment—not a panic retrenchment, but a settled determination to do their work effectually. Mr. Saunders would support the amendment if it were not purely a project to bring about a change of Government. He disagreed with the financial proposals, and hoped they would be modified, though he desired to see an honest and earnest desire to remedy the evils that had followed past extravagance. It was necessary to reduce the horde of civil servants the colony now employed, and Parliament should vote a certain moderate amount of money, and compel Government to make it suffice for departmental purposes. Any Treasurer who could bring things right again from their present condition would be a public benefactor. Mr. Saunders thought no new taxing machinery should be created, but what now existed should be utilised. The land tax machinery had cost more than the tax brought in. He favored an income tax more than a property tax. Ho hoped the days of borrowing were over, but he would never be a parly to concealing the real state of the affairs, and borrowing money under a false color. He opposed the taxation of industry,—shipping, machinery, &c.— but thought accumulated wealth, furniture, and carriages should bear a part. We had too many lawyers, too many doctors. If we had fewer parsons we would not be disturbed in our devotions by theological distinctions which created sects. He favored the abolition of subsidies, because the colony could not afford them. If retrenchment wei’e not practised, one half the population would leave the colony, and the other half would be unable to bear the burden ; and if the producing class went away disaster would be left. Mr. Reid having spoken, Mr. Macandrew moved the adjournment of the debate which will be resume I to-day. Wednesday, June 23. The House met at 2.30 p. in. THE BOTTLE LICENSES. Over a dozen petitions were presented from Otago, praying for retention of the bottle license. MR. CONYERS. Mr. Macandrew asked if the whole of the Civil Service Commission evidence will be laid on the table ; also, for a return showing the nature and extent of the contracts entered into with the firm of which the Middle Island Commissioner of Railways is alleged to be a partner. Mr. Oliver replied that the evidence had not been received from the Commission. Mr. Brown moved the adjournment of the House, and in doing so insisted that it was only right that the evidence in question should be before the House. Mr. Gisborne concurred. He said the report was a most alarming one, and the country had a right to insist upon knowing whether it was based on reliable data Mr. Macandrew said the reply was not
satisfactory. If the report was correct, the South Island Railway Commissioner should be at once dismissed. . Mr. Oliver said it was to be presumed some portion of the evidence would be produced, but it might not be proper to produce the whole. The Railway Commission had been instructed to report, and their statement would bo laid on the table. Mr. Speight said this was one of the first results of government by commission. Parliament was entitled to have every particle of the evidence produced. He knew reliable evidence had been omitted, and they had a right to know the value of the evidence taken as a whole. Mr. Reeves concurred. Mr. Murray could well understand that it would be unfair in many instances to divulge the nature of the evidence given. A committee should be appointed to enquire and report as to whether or not the report was based on reliable evidence. Mr. Turnbull thought the demand made for the evidence was somewhat premature. Mr. Hall said the whole subject would have to be gone into when the report was brought on for consideration and the discussion at present was premature. He apprehended all the evidence would be forthcoming. The commission was intitled to credit instead of being reflected upon, as some members attempted to do. The report contained many valuable suggestions, although he would not be prepared to say Government would adopt the whole of these suggestions. Mr. DeLautour complained that the report had been supplied to certain newspapers throughout the colony before it was before Parliament. He concurred in the opinion that the evidence should be produced. Mr. Seddon condemned the action sought to be taken as an unjustifiable attempt to interfere with Government in its first efforts towards much needed retrenchment. If the evidence were demanded, the names of witnesses should be suppressed. Mr. Stewart quoted Parliamentary precedents to show that it was not the practice to produce such evidence. It was in fact left to the discretion of Government themselves. Mr. Hutchison did not see that any good end would be served by producing the evidence, and condemned the action as an attempt to interfere with Government in making a much needed retrenchment. Mr. M'Lean concurred. Mr. Rolleston said he had no doubt but the evidence would be forthcoming, and the fullest opportunity given to the officers implicated to rebut the charges made. Sir George Grey said the fullest possible information should be given, as the report reflected not only on the professional, but also on the personal character of servants. Major Atkinson argued that the debate had proceeded on a false issue. No one know whether or not the Commission had or had not furnished a copy of the evidence to the officers implicated by the report. They were bound to assume that the Commission had taken every precaution to get the report based on reliable evidence. Evidently it was persons, and not the service itself, that members were solicitous about. The motion for adjournment was negatived on the voices. Dr. Wallis gave notice that ho would ask Government to state at what time copies of the report were furnished for transmission to the Heiv Zealand Herald, Christchurch Press, and Otago Daily Times, on Friday evening. The debate on the no-confidence motion was resumed by Mr. Thomson, and interrupted by the 5.30 adjournment.
PARLIAMENTARY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 117, 24 June 1880
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